It’s been a while since I listened to The Killers, not since the release of their song Human, actually – when even the most ardent fan began to question the band’s lyrical validity. Lines like “Are we Human or are we Dancer?” were an odd cry from the awesome ambiguity of “Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year”. Now there was a brilliant lyric.
But at last night’s concert at Perth’s RAC Arena, that old Killers rush came flooding back as frontman Brandon Flowers and Co delivered hit after hit in a dazzling two-hour rock/pop spectacle.
I figured the gig was going to be one of those opportunities for the band to feed their own egos; to play all those songs we don’t really care about off of their latest longplayer releases. But even through four more LPs have arrived since the anomaly that was Day & Age (from which Human spawned), the audience was treated to a set consisting mainly of excellent earlier hits.
Songs from the band’s debut album Hot Fuss were the most eagerly appreciated, with the crowd smiling like they meant it during bombastic interpretations of Somebody Told Me and All These Things That I’ve Done, along with hits since such as Read My Mind and When You Were Young.
Despite the occasional cacophony, where treble and cymbals took over bass and synth a little too keenly, the overall sound quality of this show was good.
And despite two of the original Killers missing from the lineup, replacement players Ted Sablay and Jake Blanton did a great job at replicating our favourite tunes.
At times, Brandon Flowers looked like he was playing for the camera more than to the audience (perhaps this concert was being recorded for Blu-ray posterity), but for the most part, the Vegas-raised showman made the audience feel the songs were being played just for them.
There were nods to early U2 when the tempo dropped to a more solemn level, paired with pictures on the big screen of Joshua-looking trees and white desert landscapes, and when these images turned to bright montages of Vegas, it did seem like the band were going for a ‘PopMart on a budget’ vibe, but for what it’s worth, this was one of the year’s most enjoyable concerts.
From the tickertape blast during the opening song, to the pyrotechnics in the middle of the set, to Brandon’s ‘Elvis’ costume change for the encore (that thankfully included everybody’s favourite, Mr Brightside), there was enough razzle-dazzle on stage for fans to walk away heaps satisfied.
Heck, I even enjoyed hearing Human again and seeing its accompanying visuals of avant-garde dancers doing kooky moves, which might finally answer that question for us… Indeed, they are Human and Dancer.
Now go spread the good word.
Photography © 2022 Chris Phelps (www.chrisphelps.com)
The Killers’ ‘Imploding the Mirage Tour 2022’.